Ethiopia, China, and Germany have renewed their commitment to scaling up their triangular cooperation aiming at improving the environmental, social, and labor standards in the textile sector in Ethiopia and beyond.
The pledge was made at the international conference on triangular cooperation between Ethiopia, China, and Germany at the United Nations Conference Center (UNCC) in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa to foster sustainable textile development in Africa and Asia.
Representatives of the three parties, attending the international conference on Sustainable Textile Investment and Operation in Ethiopia, agreed to foster cooperation as part of their triangular cooperation project, dubbed “Sustainable Textile Investment and Operation in Ethiopia.”
Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, Zhao Zhiyuan, addressing the conference said China will continue sharing its knowledge, technology, and expertise to help African and Asian countries expedite their textile industries.
“China always attaches great importance to its cooperation with Ethiopia’s textile sector and consistently supports the sustainable development of the country’s textile industry through various means such as trade and investment,” Zhao said.
Highlighting that China remains to be the biggest investor in Ethiopia’s textile industry, Zhao said with a population of over 100 million, Ethiopia continues to attract more Chinese investors to its textile industry.
“So far, China is one of the biggest investors in the textile sector in Ethiopia, with a total of about 450 million U.S. dollars. We have over 30 Chinese textile companies in Ethiopia,” the ambassador said.
Collectively implemented by the Ethiopian Textile Industry Development Institute (ETIDI), the China National Textile and Apparel Council (CNTAC), Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and United Nations Industrial Development Organization(UNIDO), the project also aims at tackling global challenges and promoting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda African and Asian countries in the textile sector.
The project has been implemented through capacity development and awareness raising in the Ethiopian textile and garment industry, focusing on Chinese investors and their Ethiopian business partners.
Melaku Alebel, Ethiopia’s Industry Minister, said the triangular cooperation has helped Ethiopia attract more Chinese investors and promote its textile industry.
“The role of China in Ethiopia’s development is multidimensional. When we look at the number of investors in Ethiopia, Chinese investors take the lion’s share. The role of China in Ethiopia’s foreign direct investment is immense,” Alebel said.
The minister further said more than 80,000 new jobs have been created in industrial parks in the last Ethiopian fiscal year which ended on July 7 with Chinese companies hiring the largest number of job seekers, especially women.
According to the minister, Ethiopia aims to grow its textile export earnings from 181 million U.S. dollars to 250 million U.S. dollars this Ethiopian fiscal year.
“We are looking forward to attracting more Chinese investors and making it happen through working with the Chinese embassy in Ethiopia. We are also exploring the Chinese market to export our products there,” the minister said.
Calabro Aurelia, UNIDO representative, on her part, stressed that China and Germany have funded the triangular project since its inception two years ago.
“China has been very generous in promoting foreign direct investment in Ethiopia, particularly in the textile and garment sector,” Aurelia said.
“China and Germany have contributed a lot in introducing new technologies and promoting environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices in the textile sector in Ethiopia and beyond,” Aurelia added.
The two-day conference discusses possible ways to create an enabling environment to promote sustainable textile industry development and raise awareness of ESG among all stakeholders in the textile industry in Ethiopia and beyond.